Archive for the ‘horticulture therapy’ Category

Green Healing ~ Recalling a Horticultural Summer

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

BUTTERFLY BEAUTIFUL

The last days of Summer are obvious.  The light has changed coloring the sky a deep blue.  The clouds are big, fluffy and milky white.  Horticulturally, we’ve planted several seed beds for Fall harvesting. 

The wildly stimulating grand symphony of color and life that the excited Swallowtails, Fritillaries and Skippers performed has slowed to a soothing and reflective melody, with the pretty ‘Little Yellow’ and the cautious, interested beautiful Buckeye.

The Sunflowers are gone, along with the melon patch.  I was absent the day our volunteer group cleared that garden, but my son went.  

I spent the time in the parking lot lying down in my car due to exhaustion.  (I may add a personal note about that at the end of this post). 

“You should have come today,” my son said after volunteering with the Horticulture Therapy group.  “We had a great time.  You missed out.”

I was happy that he had fun and especially to see his smile.

“Smell my breath!” he exclaimed.  “Smells like Basil doesn’t it?”

The fragrance was strong, I thought.  Whatever they ate must have been good.  “How are the Sunflowers?” I asked him.

“We ripped them up and cleared all that out,” he answered, referring to the space where the plants had lived.

“What did you do with them?” I asked.  It was a futile question, I realized.  I knew they were in the compost, along with the dozens of caterpillars on the Fennel plant that I had hoped to see become Butterflies.

“Yep,” he reiterated, “They’re gone Mom.”  His tone sounded of a time and place when men must tell women of particular actions that simply had to be done and only by men.

He’d been perspiring and had dirt on his clothes.  He looked satisfied.  I gathered that his physical strength and abilities had served the group’s work efforts well, which I believe is good for a young man.

I did feel like a part of me had gone to wherever the Sunflowers went.  I wished, in one way, that I’d been there for a proper parting.  I loved the Sunflowers.  Upon reflection, I figure the compost is as good a place as any to be with Mother Earth.

The next day I stopped by the gardens alone.  I wanted to sit for a while, remembering my Sunflower Summer.

Each had unique differences.  There were the giant yellow ones, which did demand first greetings from onlookers.  Some were stunningly bright with pointed petals, while others were softer, with petals that looked like long blond locks of hair.  The pale yellows were almost transparent in a particular light of day.   I smile every time I remember the one with a head so big ‘she’ had to be tied to Bamboo.

Most surprising to me were the red Sunflowers.  The wonderfully rich colors are worthy of any camera!  They were beautiful.

There was one Sunflower still standing.  My son had planted it down below the main gardens against a tall cement wall.  His Sunflower was always different from the others in the most interesting ways.  A corner of the bloom’s circle of petals curled around the large spiraled center.  I often thought it looked like the small hand of a shy child, perhaps covering her face after a compliment, but mostly, the beautiful flower reminded me of my son.

In the brightest Summer days the plant stood tall.  As the days went on, it started bending forward, as though to watch over the smaller plants blooming closer to the ground.

One day I visited the gardens when my son wasn’t feeling well.  His flower was leaning so far over that the petals almost touched the tops of the relatively short Zinnias.  I couldn’t believe it was still standing.  I inspected the stem thinking the plant might need to be staked.  Surprisingly, it was thick, obviously strong enough to handle the form it had taken.

A garden and the life it brings is a continuous source of metaphors and personal reflection.

The critters who visited, along with the more permanent residents in the gardens, are treasures in my heart.  I remember my first ‘Green Healing’ garden friend, the little Lizard who lived in the Cabbage patch.  I fell in love.

My next Green Healing friend was a Ladybug.  The Horticulture Therapist pointed her out to me as we were walking to the Greenhouse on a chilly Spring morning.  She was sitting pretty on a leaf in the unforgettable garden of Crimson Clover.

The therapist knew I had enjoyed my camera and encouraged me to take a picture.  I snapped a few shots of the little ladybug.  Returning home, I uploaded the photos.  I saw what I loved.

That little ladybug was absolutely incredible, at least to my eyes.  I couldn’t believe the details in the photograph.  I couldn’t believe I took the photograph!  The morning dew spiraled down beside my new little friend like a tiny string of graduated pearls.  She’s my Lucky Little Lady who got me hooked on nature photography.

I’ve enjoyed all the wildlife in the gardens, most recently a new baby Turtle rooming with the Frog in the Pond Garden.  I love their photos, but Baby Turtle doesn’t like posing for the camera.  I try not to disturb him.  I guess, in my heart, I feel most connected with the Butterfly.  Everything about them is amazing and beautiful.

I’m not surprised that the Buckeye was the most prominent of the winged friends during my most recent visit to the gardens in the last days of Summer.

These beautifully winged wonders have an average life span of only about ten days, but their flight period is year-round in the southern United States.  The Northern ones do not overwinter and many return southward in great migrations. 

A small patch of the orange Mexican Sunflowers are still thriving.  I imagine they had a lot to do with the delightfully high number of butterflies in the gardens this year.

There are several other flowers blooming that obviously produce nectar, but I’m not familiar enough to know their botanical names.  I love the big white ones.

Nectar Producing Beauty for Hummingbirds and Butterflies

The hummingbirds and butterflies like them too.  I’m sure there is plenty of nectar for the late Summer and soon to arrive Autumn winged visitors. 

Sulfer Butterfly on Nectar Flower

Personally, the Summer was for the most part, difficult.  I’m grateful for my time with the volunteers and in the gardens.  It was time away from the harsh parts of my life.  People in that group care about people and those are always good kind of folks! 

I’m also glad to have spent time watching and being with the Butterflies.  On that note, I’ll recall the pretty Painted Lady who put on the most colorful show of the year with the orange Sunflowers and pink Zinnias.  ‘She’ showed up during my recent visit, but I didn’t recognize her.

After taking several photos, I asked a staff member to look and tell me if she knew the Butterfly.  “I’m pretty sure that’s a Painted Lady,” she said.

Ha!  I thought to myself.  “I don’t think so.  Look at the wings,” I replied.  They were jagged like those of a Question Mark or Comma.  I was confused and thought she didn’t know her butterflies all that well, which surprised me.

Again, it wasn’t until I saw the images on the digital screen that I realized the woman had correctly identified ‘my lady’ painted pretty.  She may have had a difficult summer too.  Her wings told of predators, but mostly of survival, because she’s still flying free.

Painted Lady with a few marks of a butterflies life

On a more personal note, I have pneumonia.  I knew I felt terribly bad, but I attributed the worsening of my health over the past six weeks or more to stress and possibly, utter exhaustion.  Also, living with chronic illness means it’s hard to know the difference between your normal way of feeling and a nasty infection.  According to the doctor, the large pills she prescribed should get me well.

Along with the medication, I’ll look to my jagged beautiful Painted Lady!

Thank you for visiting DogKisses!  Pardon the lengthy post.  It took me a while to write and there are probably grammatical errors.  I hope to be back to myself again soon, which would include having energy to read my favorite blogs.  Until then, I hope you are having your own Green Healing moments this Summer.

Peace and Pass it on.

Advertisements

Green Healing ~ Lotus and Little Frog

“Hey,” one of the Horticulture Therapy Interns whispered to me during a recent group session.  “Did you get a look at that Lily?” 

I looked across the way toward the pond garden.  I couldn’t believe my eyes!  It was floating almost three feet above the water and extraordinarily large. 

“That’s a Lily!” I exclaimed. 

“Uh huh,” she murmured, smiling in a playfully delinquent way. 

She knew I would get excited and I did!  I quickly found myself standing on the side of the garden’s frame taking pictures.  I was in awe.

Beautiful Lotus Lily! 

Image of Large White Lotus Lily flower, "dokisses blog photos"

Lotus Lily

“I finally understand about the Lotus now,” a co-volunteer and friend said as we stood there, altogether captured by the flower.  By that time the intern had joined us. 

We talked about acknowledging the darkness in the waters where the flower comes from.  I’ve noticed the dark waters of the ponds, as well as all the life living in and around them.  There’s the frogs, the various kinds of Lily pads, some with intricate designs and one with a smiley face.  Pretty little red fish swim around and all kinds of moss and plant life grow that I can’t name.  Of course, there is my gorgeous winged friend, whom I met there at Noon one very hot day. 

So, after hanging around the pond for a few weeks, a surge of adrenaline hit me when the large white Lotus flower appeared.  Nature took me again to a place where I feel connected and my senses peak.  This surely qualifies as a Green Healing.

My companions and I were standing on the garden’s frame when the Horticulture Therapist walked over to ask that we re-join the group.  I suspected by the look in her eyes that she would rather not see any of us up there again.  She’s a terrific therapist and I respect her a great deal.  I also trust her.  I won’t be standing on the sides of our pond gardens anymore, besides, that’s for “Little Frog!” 

A cute little pond frog

Possible Prince Charming?

"little frog" posing by the pond garden

“Little Frog” definitely has potential!

Back at the gardens this afternoon, I checked the pond where the Lily was showing off for us.  The plant looked very different after four days!  In fact, I think I’ll end with one more photo of what it looks like today.

Lotus Lily Flower, Closed Petals

The Lotus Lily Flower, Closed Petals

There were also new Lilies coming up.  Some stay on the water when they bloom and the others grow on top of a long stem, straight up toward the sky, like this beauty did. 

Thanks for visiting DogKisses! 

Copyrights Apply.  See Terms of Use for more information.  Thank you for respecting my work and this license.

Green Healing ~ The Sunflowers

Visit my photo/journal blog to see the lovely Sunflowers! 

 

Well, I’m back sooner than expected to share more Sunflower photos.  I really can’t help myself.  If I wasn’t tired, which I am, I’d give fun names to the ones I saw today!  I guess some folks might think if you’ve seen one Sunflower, then you’ve seen them all, but today only strengthened my personal observation that each one is unique.

Note:  Click on images to see the original size.

Drop Dead Red Sunflower, Green Healing Notes Blog Images

My friend and I had gone to the gardens to have lunch under the naturally vine-crafted Gazebo by the herb garden.  I thought it would be cool spot to sit, but I used all except one napkin for wiping the out-pour of sweat on my body, and I had on a summer dress! 

I may be a mountain woman in my heart, but I’m not sure.  We lived in the mountains when I was a toddler, but soon moved to…

View original post 367 more words

Green Healing ~ An affair with Nature

My favorite flower of the day. 

Cosmos Bright Lights

Believe me, it was hard to choose only one photo to share with you from my visit to the gardens today!  I wish I had time to share more of my journey lately, but extra time is sparse.  

Today I watered the plants, which is part of my volunteer position at the Botanical Gardens.  Normally my son helps me water, but he’s visiting his Grandmother for a few days.

There is so much to see when I go that I get carried away.  I start taking photos and find myself still there several hours later. 

People browse around and I hear oohs and ahs over a plant they’ve never seen or one they particularly love.  I enjoy the people and sometimes they ask me questions.  I like it when I’m able to give an answer.

The colors and garden creatures capture my attention in a way nothing else is able to these days.  Life isn’t easy as I write.  I may be avoiding some of it by spending hours taking photos of flowers or simply admiring the amazing size of the Cosmos and Sunflowers.

I wonder if I’m having a love affair with Nature. 

Back to the flower.

Normally, Cosmos would attract butterflies, but I only saw one today.  It was passionately fluttering about as if it couldn’t decide where to stop.  I think the place is heaven for them. 

I did see many bees.  While watering the Thyme and Sage hundreds surrounded me.  I stayed calm and rather enjoyed them.  I’m sure they were asking me why I was bothering them on a hot afternoon when they were busy –as bees 🙂

Thank you for visiting Dogkisses’s Blog!

One Green Healing Day!

Today, I’m practicing accepting the moment.  My other options don’t look good.  I have a lot on my mind, some of which I simply don’t know what to do about.  I’m taking a break from trying to come up with solutions, at least for a little while.

I’ll take another break in a few minutes, with my pretty, insect-hunting four-legged companion, Ruthie Mae.  She needs me, and I need her. She let me know today how much she loves me, and how she misses us spending more outside time together. 

She walked over to me, as I was rubbing Tiny’s belly, which he loves of course, and put her paw in my hand in the sweet way she has always done,ever since the first time she introduced herself to me.  Ruthie does have good manners, even though, she doesn’t use them a lot of the time.  She looked me in the eyes, as if to say, hey thanks for loving us, and then she gave me a soft little kiss on my hand!  I promise you she is one of the sweetest dogs in the whole wide world!

I’ve regressed.  I meant to talk about butterflies.

I’d like to share a photo of the beautiful butterfly that I was friends with today. 

Beautiful Butterfly

A Green Healing Moment!

I make a lot of garden friends in Horticulture Therapy.  First it was the lizard, then the ladybug, and recently my son spotted a lizard by the bog that had an orange throat, and of course, butterflies!  I love the butterflies, but I’ve noticed that I do love all my garden friends.

I must go check my books of butterflies, my favorite of which is, BUTTERFLY GARDENING, FOR THE SOUTH, by GEYATA AJILVSGI, if I can find it.  I have nature guide books, but let’s find out what Geyata has to say about this amazing and beautiful creature.  

ZEBRA SWALLOWTAIL (Eurytides marcellus) 

Family: Papilionidae

Size: 2 3/8- 3 1/2 inches

Range: All 

 Flight Time: March-October 

Broods: 3, possibly more  

Overwinters: Pupa

Though the Zebra Swallowtail has bright striking colors, when it goes to rest in the shade, it gets a little darker and blends in with the environment. 

I know one thing this butterfly likes, and that’s drinking from Asclepias Tuberosa, commonly known as Milkweed, which is a nectar producing flower, but is also the plant that Monarchs lay their eggs on.  Milkweed is the only plant Monarchs use to lay their eggs on.  Something in the plant makes the Monarch poisonous to prey.

I once dreamed I was a Milkweed plant.  I was happy and lived in a great large field with many others like me.  But, that’s a story I’ve told in this blog.  Ruthie Mae says I don’t have time to give you the link.

That’s it for today.  The sun has gone down, and my girl needs a walk.

Thank you for visiting Dogkisses’s Blog! 

Green Healing ~ Over and Over

in the garden, over and over

Crimson and Clover

A short day in the garden continues to be rather taxing for my body, including my brain, but is still very much worth it!

We start a new project each week.  We’re growing beds of Bok Choy, Lettuce, Carrots, a container of Sweet Peas, and we each have a potted assortment of Cacti that we took home.

We take care of the gardens planted last year; the beautiful robust Chard, Thyme, Parsley, Sage and I do believe, some Rosemary too, along with a spontaneous flower garden.

We harvested the wonderful Cabbage plants and next week are going to share a meal together.

after the harvest, we nourish our bodies

Cabbage ready to eat!

I love being in the open air, seeing smiles evoked by simple little things, like a bug or a bloom.  I also love seeing my son engaged, smiling and enjoying nature.

Being around people who are kind, understanding and who don’t put others in a box or see them as diagnoses, but instead as individual human beings with something unique to offer is a blessing.  I wish it was the norm, but I don’t think it is.

Even though I feel great fatigue after the class, I’m able to experience the ‘Green Healing’ as I sit quietly recalling the beauty of the flowers or interesting plants we saw, my son’s smiles and the often moving interactions with the other volunteers while we worked together.

Our visits to the greenhouse are always exciting as well.  Plants change from week to week and there’s usually something new along the path during our walk.  I love that!

people and plants

in the greenhouse

The patch of Crimson Clover (above) where the ladybugs live is thriving with beautiful blooms.  In honor of these awesome blooms, I’m sharing the song via YouTube.

This is an original short version, by Tommy James And The Shondells, as heard on WABC AM radio when it was a hit in 1968.

Thanks for visiting Dogkisses’s Blog!

‘Green Healing Days’ feed from Flickr